Sunday, July 5, 2009


This is Holly.
You probably have never heard of her before.
Holly is a victim of animal cruelty.There have been dogs just like her that the media cast their light on because their owner was famous.
Holly's owner wasn't famous. However the abuse still exists, whether the media chooses to shine their light on her or not.
I would not say I have become hardened over the years working with these dogs. When I meet each one, they never look back. They have taught me not to waste time hating their previous owners for what they have done to them, but to forgive, educate when I can, and move on. God only knows what could have happened to those people in their lives to make them think that treating another creature this way is okay.
So when I meet the dogs for the first time, I keep a stiff upper lip. No matter what condition they are in, we move forward.

This time was different.

Holly arrived with the other dogs rescued from her yard, and I went out to receive her. I smiled when I saw her, and gently tried to pry her 20lb. body from the crate she was petrified to be removed from. I barely had both arms around her tiny frame before she stuck to me like glue, and wrapped her tiny arms around me like I was a life preserver in the sea. I stroked her back and told her she was alright now, and the tears just welled in my eyes. I have never been hugged so hard in all of my life.

Holly is on the road to healing. She is trying to eat, and gaining strength on her deformed legs. She is trying. She will get better.
So, the media may not be following her. You may not get to see her when she gets to romp with other dogs, perhaps later getting therapy dog certification...or even when her new adoptive family comes to take her home safe......forever.

My mission as an artist is to cast a light on the ones that the media may not. They are still here. They have faces, and they have names.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Heres to good friends...

I am adding this picture to my blog for a couple of reasons. One, I got a new dog named Kane, and this is him...Isn't he cute?? Two, my best friend Marina came out for my wedding last weekend..(thats her hugging my new dog...isn't she cute??)

I wanted to write about both of them because last week meant alot to me for many reasons. One, of course was that I got married, and the other was that my best friend put her fear aside and gave my dogs a chance. Although I know in her heart she didn't want to be afraid of them, the media will hardly let you not be. They are both pit-bull type dogs. (probly mixed with greyhound, presa canario, great dane and who knows what else!!!) I just read that she was talking to someone about them when she got back home, and she said "I was a little afraid to meet them at first, but then I looked into their eyes and I melted!!"

Of course my dogs can't change everyones mind, but they change many. This one probably meant the most to me. We miss you Marina!!! Thank you for everything!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank you to Angela Elledge!!

This beautiful portrait of my dog Ziggy Marley was painted by a wonderful artist Angela Elledge.
She saw Ziggy's picture on my blog from a January post that was taken by photographer Lisa Fishler.
I cannot thank her enough for doing this. Her rendering of him brought tears to my eyes. He is a lovely dog, and is captured so well here!!
Please check out her blog, and Lisa's. They are both extremely supportive of networking for other artists. To me, this is what it is all about!! Many thanks to both for spending time with my wonderful boy!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ziggy Marley brings home the blue!!!

I just could not be prouder of my little man!!! His first dog show at a year and a half old, and he won the blue! I showed him in an advanced obedience course called Rally-o, where dog and handler go through an obstacle course with approximately twenty obedience signs to follow. We got a ribbon for a qualifying score in the first round, and a blue ribbon for a higher qualifying score in the second round. As many know, Ziggy was a rescue from a pit-bull shelter. Many of the dogs there endured obstacles of their own before they found shelter, and many are deserving of a blue ribbon in their own right. Ziggys ribbon now hangs at Animal Farm Foundation, with the dogs still waiting for their forver homes. Way to go, Ziggy!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beach Guy

This was a fun one to do. I am definately stretching myself with these DSFDF challenges. It is so fun to see which parts of the picture people gravitate twords. I really wanted to know what this guy was thinking about.

It was also a challenge for me to slow WAYYY down, as I am starting to move into my new studio today. I am chomping at the bit to get in there, but have to wait for my landlords to finish up a few minor details. I had to finish the painting, photograph it, get the pics in my laptop, take my laptop to a place I can upload the it on my blog and FINALLY...(deep sigh...) send it to the Different Strokes From Different Folks blogspot. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy every minute of it. It shows me I can work well under pressure, and concentrate on the task at hand even though everything I own is in a BOX!!!

Time to go load up my truck!!! Cheers...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

California roll, anyone?

This painting has already sold!! I was happy about that.
This was a fun one to do, and I will paint it again. The sauce was intimidating, but turned out well, I thought.
Still working on doing as many small still lifes as time allows. I will be moving into a new studio in a couple of weeks that has an actual office. I am having fun figuring out how I am going to organize it so I can ligitimately have a working ORGANIZED space!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 asked for it!!

I was recently "tagged" by two fellow artists to post "seven unusual things about me", then tag seven other artist. In leiu of tagging seven others, they listed seven artists whose blogs they felt would be of interest to others. I was HONORED that both of these artist listed me as 'one of seven artists to watch'!! Those two artists are Maria Kovalenko and Tom Pohlman. Both of them have incredible blogs to see.

Interestingly enough, when I was first tagged, I wondered if I could think of seven things. When I started thinking hard about it, I wondered if seven WOULD BE ENOUGH!! Here goes nothing...

1: I have the best parents in the whole wide world...

2: I hate that this is an unusual thing, but I love pit bulls...

3: Over the last couple of years, I have learned the TRUE meaning of forgiveness.

4: I try to practice it.

5: the pit bulls help me remember to forgive every day, because they do without being asked.

6: I have relatives with webbed toes...yes, thats right! And although I didn't inheret them, I am a GREAT swimmer!!

7: Unfortunately, in my line of work with animals over the years, death is part of the 'job'. Initially terrified at the thought of death, I have grown to accept it, and find it an honor to hold our friends as they pass on. I have actually been requested by friends of mine to hold their horses, dogs, etc.

So, those are pretty unusual. I want to list seven blogs I like to follow. I am not sure how to attach a link, so my apoligies to the artists in advance if people cant click and find you. As I said before, my computer skills are sadly lacking!! It is in my intention...
If there are any of you who have not been 'tagged', list seven unusual things about yourself, then 'tag' seven others. For those of you who have already been tagged, I hope to send some traffic your way!! Cheers!

1: Tom Pohlman Painting from the southwest

2: Maria Kovalenko

3: Sheila From Forensic to fine art

4: Edward Burton Paintings

5: Karie Ann Cooper The art of rescue

6: Carol Horzempa South of North Studio

7: Lisa Tatsuko Printz Photography blog

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Introducing still lifes...

These are some still lifes I have done in the past. I am very interested in painting a series of items made of glass. This being one of my first attempts. I do like the idea of a black background for all of them, but I will play with it. The still life of the fruit I did in a class taught by my wonderful teacher Ira Barkoff. (Not the best picture of is varnished, but I will not sell it anyway.)I remember I wanted to sign up for his beginners class many years ago. I was scared to take the class to begin with, having never painted in front of people. Then they told me the beginners class didn't have enough students to fill it, so my only other option would be to be a beginner in the ADVANCED class!! With a quavering voice I said yes, having visions of the class and instructor rolling their eyes at how I held up the class. (This of course was not the case.) It was the best thing I ever did. I am now comfortable painting in public, although my first exhibition where I painted animals in public was a bit like not wearing any clothes! However...I did it, and was EXTREMELY well received! It was a relief, and actually quite fun. I was amazed when I took Ira's class how supportive everyone was. I learned to take constructive criticism well, and quickly learned what I thought was a masterpeice, others did not, and vice versa. It was great to watch others paint the relatively same scene, and absorb their interpretation of it. I do miss that class...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A tribute to my Ziggy Marley.

Yesterday was my birthday. I think it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. I had the chills for most of the day that an African American FINALLY made it into the white house. I was filled with a tremendous amount of hope that ignorance and lack of education are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
My dogs name is Ziggy Marley, and he is the one thing that puts a smile on my face EVERY day. Ziggy's breed is also widely descriminated against. Having worked exclusively with his 'breed' for several years now, I thought I knew how much they were descriminated against. I did not.
I was sure that because I had worked with this breed for so long, that when I rescued one, my friends and family would just love him by default. This, however, was not the case!! Ziggy loves to learn and do new tricks, so obedience classes have become his favorite thing! As a six month old, he breezed through his CGC test, which is an AKC recognized temperament test. Shortly after, we took a class that teaches him how to do tricks on a movie set, or a commercial, or for modeling. (Ziggy actually is doing a move called "flat" in the picture above, where he is to lay down and put his head on his paws and is not to move until I tell him he can.) Now that he is a bit older, he excells in his advanced obedience classes, and has become a class favorite. He will start showing in the spring.
I have had a wide variety of reactions to Ziggy when we walk down the street. One woman actually came over to me with her two lovely children in tow, petting Ziggy and smiling from ear to ear telling me how beautiful and well behaved he is. (We were doing an exhibition for a mental health clinic where Ziggy was performing service dog training. Opening refrigerator doors, retrieving objects, bringing them to you. The same with cabinets, opening and shutting the doors.)
"What breed is he?" she asked. "He is a pit bull." I said with a big smile. Her face dropped, she grabbed both of her children by the shoulders and scurried away. The little boy wined in protest, "But Mommy, he is friendly!"
On the other side of the coin, I met an older man at a gas station whose eyes welled with tears as he petted him, because he had never met a pit bull before, and couldn't believe how beautiful and well behaved he was. He shared with me the horror stories he had heard about the breed.
As one of our wonderful volunteers at the shelter once said, "If you want to feel what it is like to be discriminated against, walk with a pit bull."
I feel yesterday was a day of hope. A chance to learn to forgive, as these dogs have taught me just that. As I said on my website, "I think we as humans owe these dogs an apology. The good news is...they have already forgiven us. "
Thank you Ziggy Marley, for reminding us that the pit bull dogs are really just dogs...four paws, two eyes, ONE HEART.

Photo of Ziggy Marley was taken by Lisa Fishler. Her links can be found below.
(As an aside, she adopted Ziggy's brother, both of whom can be admired on her website!!)

Friday, January 9, 2009


This was alot of fun. It is still in the beginning stages. I used a canvas that I had started a portrait on. She wasn't fitting well...I felt I was shorting her at the top, and wanted to try her again on a different size canvas. So poor Etta's unfinished portrait has been sitting in my studio for a while. Sometimes if I reuse a canvas, I will gesso it. However sometimes I think it is more of a challenge to really see and create what you see in your mind regardless of what the canvas looks like before you begin. I do alot of painting at night, and it is difficult for me to take pictures of the canvases when they are wet. Any advice on this is greatly appreciated, as far as the best lighting to use to minimize the sheen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Challenge first challenge for me. The Jefferson Memorial at night!! I have always wanted to do a night scene, so this will be fun. I will also post progression photos as I go along. I can hardly wait to get started!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Purpose...

I was inspired to create this blog by my photographer friend Lisa Fishler. We have done some work together in the past, and she is a constant helping hand to me, as my computer skills are sadly lacking. She has encouraged me to complete my web-site, which I finally finished last summer...a huge relief!! Her website and blog are listed below.
She recently led me to a blog called "Different strokes from different folks", which is an artist network to complete a painting assignment every two weeks, hosted by artist Karin Jurick. The finished results will be on her blog, which is listed below.
This was just the push I needed to get going on a body of work which I can sell. Please check back often, and take the time to look at Karins blog. Such a great idea, and so fun to see everyones different styles and having fun supporting one another!!